Anthropology asks, what shapes us as humans? Sociology asks, how does social structure shape culture? Both disciplines ask what it means to be human.

Anthropology and sociology bridge the gap between life sciences and humanities, revealing the biocultural and sociocultural nature of so much of human experience. They provide a unifying framework for understanding the totality of the human condition and our responsibility for service in a global society.

Read about the ANTHROPOLOGY/SOCIOLOGY program:

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Robyn Cutright

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Charles T. Hazelrigg Associate Professor of Anthropology • Chair of Anthropology/Sociology Program Anthropology, Latin American Studies Work Crounse Hall—470 Work Phone: 859.238.6032

Robyn Cutright joined Centre’s faculty in 2009. She is Charles T. Hazelrigg Associate Professor of Anthropology, and was named a Centre Scholar in 2013.

Her research interests include household archaeology, anthropology and archaeology of food and cuisine, complex societies, gender studies, paleoethnobotany, and archaeology of the Andes and coastal Peru.

Cutright received a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish from Lawrence University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh.

To read about her 2012 CentreTerm course, “Pyramids & Politics: Exploring Peru’s Prehispanic Past,” click here.
To read about her 2011 CentreTerm course, “Aliens, Atlantis, and Archaeology,” click here.
To read about the 2009 archeological dig in which Dr. Cutright’s class took part, click here.


File last updated: 6/26/17

Andrea Abrams

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Associate Professor of Anthropology • Chair of the Gender Studies Program Anthropology, African and African American Studies, and Gender Studies Work Office: Crounse Hall—464 Work Phone: 859.238.5254

Andrea Abrams came to Centre in 2007 as Centre’s first Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges Postdoctoral Fellow, and became assistant professor of anthropology in 2009. She was promoted to associate professor in 2014.

She is the author of God and Blackness: Race, Gender and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church (NYU Press, 2014). She led a study-abroad trip to Ghana during CentreTerm 2013, and will co-teach Spring Term in London, England in 2015. Before coming to Centre, Abrams taught at the University of Southern Mississippi, Emory University, Agnes Scott College, and Spelman College. Her research focuses on racial and gender issues in the South.

Abrams has a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Agnes Scott College. She earned a M.A. in anthropology, a graduate certificate in women’s studies, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Emory University.


File last updated: 8/5/13

Kiyona Brewster

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Assistant Professor of Sociology Centre CollegeDivision II Work Crounse - 434

Kiyona Brewster joined the Centre College faculty as assistant professor of sociology in 2017.

Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of race and ethnicity, gender, qualitative methods, family studies, and religion. Brewster’s ongoing research agenda involves understanding how gender and familial roles are defined and produced within predominantly African American Protestant and Evangelical communities of faith. She previously held teaching appointments at Northwestern University, DePaul University, and Triton College in Illinois. She is originally from Pennsylvania and when she is not reading social theory, she enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors.

Brewster received a B.S. degree from Bennett College for Women, an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology and a certificate in gender & sexuality studies from Northwestern University in September of 2016, as well as a teaching certificate from the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. She also has an M.A. in psychology from the University of Connecticut.


File last updated: 8/21/17


Nathan Meissner



Nathan Meissner joined the Centre College faculty in 2019 as visiiting assistant professor of anthropology.

Meissner’s research and teaching interests include material culture, complex societies, Mesoamerica, North America, economic anthropology, colonialism, social network analysis, long-distance exchange, lithic analysis, quantitative methods, and semiotics.

Meissner earned a B.A. in anthropology from St. Cloud University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.


Endre Nyerges

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Professor of Anthropology Anthropology Work Crounse Hall—453 Work Phone: 859.238.5240

Endre Nyerges joined the Centre College faculty in 1997 as a visiting professor, having previously taught at the University of Kentucky. He was named associate professor of anthropology the following year and became professor of anthropology in 2007. He has chaired Anthropology/Sociology and Environmental Studies and is an active member of both major programs.

A veteran of ethnological and ecological field research in Iran and Sierra Leone, Nyerges has edited two volumes of scholarly work in anthropology and has published extensively in scholarly books and journals. His current research concerns the remote sensing of environmental change in West African Guinea savanna.

Nyerges holds a B.A. from Earlham College, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


File last updated: 10/20/14



Cultural anthropology — Food production in Africa

Editor of The Ecology of Practice: Studies of Food Crop Production in Sub-Saharan West Africa (Gordon and Breach, 1998), part of a series. Research on ethnography and ecology in Africa and the Middle East.

Jamie Shenton

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Assistant Professor of Anthropology Centre CollegeDivision II Work Crounse - 436

Jamie Shenton joined the faculty at Centre College as assistant professor of anthropology in 2017.

She is a cultural anthropologist specializing in medical anthropology, gender and sexuality, ethnographic methods, and comparative perspectives on U.S. and world cultures, especially Latin America. Her geographic areas of expertise are lowland South America and highland Central America, and she has spent significant amounts of time conducting fieldwork among indigenous Kichwa peoples (Amazonian Ecuador) and indigenous Maya peoples (Guatemala). Her most recent research explored issues of gender, intergenerational transformation, body image, and social change among indigenous Kichwa women in the Napo Province region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Other ongoing research projects include productive intersections of contemporary feminist theory and Amazonian ethnographic theoretical paradigms as well as sexual violence on college campuses and questions of awareness and prevention.

Shenton’s teaching areas of interest include cultural anthropology; gender and sexuality; human rights; globalization; disease, healing, and health inequalities; modernity, social change, and indigenous resilience; media studies and popular culture; and body image and eating disorders.

Shenton earned a B.A. in anthropology and sociology and Spanish from Centre College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Vanderbilt University where she taught for nearly three years in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

File last updated: 8/23/17

Jeff Shenton

VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGYWorkCrounse – 439Work Phone: 859.238.5234Work Email:


Jeffrey Shenton joined the Centre College faculty in 2019 as visiting assistant professor of anthropology.

Shenton’s teaching specializations include cultural anthropology, environmental anthropology, cultural and political ecology, cognitive anthropology, and anthropology of religion, indigenous Latin America.

Shenton earned a B.A. in English and French from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Vanderbilt University.

Beau Weston

Photo of  William (Beau) Weston
John M. and Louise Van Winkle Professor of Sociology • Social Work Advisor Sociology Work Crounse Hall—330 Work Phone: 859.238.8789 Website: personal website

Beau Weston joined the faculty at Centre College in 1990 and was named Van Winkle Professor of Sociology in 2008. He is an energetic and active teacher, known for getting involved in the lives and activities of his students on campus.

Born in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, Weston earned a B.A. with high honors from Swarthmore College and subsequently completed an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University. Prior to coming to Centre, Weston served for three years as a research associate in the Office of Research of the U.S. Department of Education.

Weston has a special interest in the sociology of religion, especially in the Presbyterian Church. He is the author of Presbyterian Pluralism: Competition in a Protestant House (1997, University of Tennessee Press), Leading from the Center: Strengthening the Pillars of the Church (2003, Geneva Press), and editor of Called to Teach: The Presbyterian Mission in Higher Education (2003, Geneva Press). Weston previously was an editor of and contributor to Education and the American Family: A Synthesis of Research, published by New York University Press in 1989. His history of the College, Centre College: Scholars, Gentlemen, Christians was published in 2010. Weston also writes the blog The Gruntled Center: Exploring the Happy Society.

This Centre professor received considerable press attention for his course on coffee houses. In 2011 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to develop a course on “The Happy Society.” In 2004, he won the Kirk Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2014 he again won the Kirk Award, as well as the David Hughes (Professor of the Year) Award from the student leadership fraternity Omicron Delta Kappa, and the Professor of the Year Award from the Delta Delta Delta sorority.

Weston has presented papers at a number of professional meetings and has participated in the Kentucky Humanities Council speakers bureau. He has received honors including membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and he served a term as president of the Anthropologists and Sociologists of Kentucky.

Weston is an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Susan, have three children: Molly, Nora, and Rebecca.


File last updated: 3/10/16


EXPERT: Conservative vs. liberal churches — Anything Presbyterian — Sociology of family life — Marriage — Dating, mate selection — How to be a better boyfriend — Coffee and cafes — Academic blogging

Special interest in the sociology of religion. Author of Presbyterian Pluralism: Competition in a Protestant House (University of Tennessee Press, 1997). Editor of and contributor to Education and the American Family: A Synthesis of Research (New York University Press, 1989). Research and teaching on topics related to family life and major contemporary social issues. Authored full-length history of Centre College titled Centre College: Scholars, Gentlemen, Christians (published October 2010).

Kaelyn Wiles

Photo of  Kaelyn  Wiles
Assistant Professor of Sociology Sociology Work Crounse Hall—328 Work Phone: 859.238.5382

Kaelyn Wiles came to Centre in 2013 as assistant professor of sociology.

Her scholarly interests include the sociology of health and illness, and environmental sociology.

Wiles received a B.A. in biology from Oberlin College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


File last updated: 9/4/13